THE CHRISTIAN’S INHERITANCE.
(By the late Pastor J. Hutchinson-Dennis.)
THE UNITY OF THE FAITH. “Keep the unity of the Spirit.” Eph. 4:3 and 13. This apostolic injunction should be regarded as a command. These words and others, on the subject of oneness in spiritual faith and practice amongst God’s children, must always be in the thoughts of the Christian. If there be any body of people who should demonstrate this spirit of oneness – at least in the great Christian virtues of forbearance, humility and love – surely the followers of Christ should be such a body. If UNITY is to be found in any section of the inhabitants of this world, north, south, east or west, it should certainly be found amongst Christian communities, even if some of their organised modes of operation may differ. CHRIST is the drawing and uniting presence and power. Of Him it is written, “Upholding all things by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3).
UNITY – A MIGHTY FORCE.
This all-important feature of the Christian body – unity of and through the faith – is no side issue; it is definitely proclaimed in the Old and New Testaments as a predominating mark of God’s people; indeed, it is an essential characteristic required by His Word. This unity has great potentialities, and it is to be expected that there will be desperate attacks from every direction to prevent such a unity from reaching the stage where it becomes a mighty force in the overcoming of the selfish and godless plans of men, and a challenge to all evil; it is probable that this will constitute a particular phase in the last great fight. The Church appears to be a long way from demonstrating this power at present; and the more we STUDY GOD’S PLAN AND PURPOSE FOR HIS PEOPLE, and for the nations of the world, the more, humanly speaking, this all to be desired power of Christian unity seems possible of achievement.
BY FAITH IN CHRIST IT SHALL BE DONE.
But when we turn from contemplating this disheartening state, a bright ray of hope is found in the third word of our title, FAITH. Faith – that stout shield of the Christian heart! It cries, “By faith it shall be done!” Indeed, without faith nothing lasting can be accomplished. Therefore let us say in our various nations, “We must be a nation of faith; a nation to whom nothing is impossible that is just and righteous.” In the present great struggle (referring to the 1939-1945 War) we have heard much of the powerful far-reaching effects of faith in a man, in this case, Hitler and his new order. But it has failed to produce what it claimed; and it has utterly failed to give the world anything better than it already possessed. Only pride, sweat, blood, tears, slavery, starvation and death have so far resulted from it.
THE CENTRE OF TRUE UNITY IS IN JESUS CHRIST.
Now is the opportunity for a unity to be displayed which surrounds the name of Jesus – Jesus Christ the Lord. He is the Word and His teachings provide the foundation of oneness of mind and purpose. Man will try a unity of his own creation, but there is only one, of a kind that will last. National unity which can be depended upon can only be assured when the central focal point of it is Christ. The scripture declares “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ” Rev. 12:10, and “The kingdoms of this world are become THE KINGDOMS OF OUR LORD, AND OF HIS CHRIST” Rev. 11:15. UNITY THROUGH THE FAITH of a people who worship God through Christ. LET US PRAY AND WORK FOR THIS UNITY OF THE FAITH and oneness amongst individual members of His Body. This will call for sacrifice; there must be personal self-denial. It will mean the exercise of humility, tolerance, forgiveness and brotherly kindness on the part of everyone. Neighbourly love will then be more in operation, and instead of any of us appearing to cast away what has been given us of God, we will rediscover it as we go forward; for our spiritual inheritance still remains and is even enhanced by the seeming sacrifice. We will have lost nothing, but rather gained. Love believeth and beareth all things. Remember the words of our Lord, “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are” John 17:11.
Will you strive to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and resolve not to do or say anything that would break it? When in doubt accept the advice and wisdom of the scriptures.
When this article was written, during the Second World War, we can in hindsight see how very important it was that the observations made by Pastor Dennis were followed. When Christianity is grasped more deeply by Christian organisations and Churches, there is positive growth in righteous Christian principles. On the other hand, today we see the appalling growth of selfishness, not only by individuals but also being reflected in national attitudes.
Great strides are now being made against the tolerance of poverty, disease and famine, on many different fronts. In the days after World War II, there was still an acceptable, general attitude, that it was necessary to send out Christian missionaries to what was then considered to be the dark continents. Today, we see just how important it is to practice what we taught, and as a nation practice what we preached. Many excellent Evangelists and Preachers now come to Britain, hoping to inspire our population to turn more fervently to Christ!
In observing the growth in some Christian movements, we also observe the growth of the Anti-Christ spirit, which is gaining a great deal of publicity. The negative aspects of selfishness are a feeding ground for cruelty, breeding intolerance and every foul crime known to mankind. As Christians, we have been charged by the Word of the Lord, to be effective with the knowledge that has been given to us, that by Faith things are accomplished, which would other wise be undone. Jesus, identifying Himself to the Apostle Paul at his conversion, said “…rise, stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee…to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Let us all praise and thank God for the sound teaching we have been given, and the opportunity to inherit it. It is by observing and practicing what we have been taught, that by Faith, so much is accomplished, for “faith without works is dead.”